Category Archives: Vietnam

Two Wheel Life in Vietnam

Once I hit the road pointed in the right direction to Huè, I promised myself I wouldn’t fly through the pass like I would any other time and I would actually stop and take pictures. So the first part, I stopping and took a few pictures here and there, but once I started riding into the single lane roads of the pass, my adrenaline spiked and before I knew it I’m flying through the corners. I did manage to stop once or twice to take a picture, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. That’s when I reminded myself that this is for me and my experiences and sometimes you have to keep those to yourself. After about 2 1/2 hours, I found myself in the town of Huè where I had a bus waiting for me to take me to a small village called Phong Nha. I meant two girls from Israel on the bus and we talked most of the time and one of them even told me that she had no place booked once we got there.  We decided to get a hostel together being that there’s only two to choose from. The next morning they automatically included me in all their plans which I really enjoyed because without their company I would not of seen nearly as much as I did.

We woke me up really early to go see the famous caves.  We didn’t want to take a tour, so we decide to rent a couple scooters and go on our own.  We get the first cave where we can swim, ride on the zip line, go on an obstacle course and also explore the caves (which had a lot of mud so I decided to skip the cave part). Instead I stayed on obstacle course and had a really good time for the first 20 minutes, but then I realize that me waiting for them got a longer than I thought. Once they came back they somehow knew that I was having too much fun as they did, so they took me out to lunch and we talked for a long period of time then we started making plans for the rest of the day.

On the ride back, we came across two Canadian girls broke down just outside the town we were staying. “The rental scooter decided not to run anymore”, they told me as I offered to help try to fix the problem.  After a minute or two, I got it running and followed them back to town. Once we got back to the hostel, we got really lazy and decided to stay around the hostel for evening.

The following day, the girls and I grabbed the scooters and rode out to the caves nearest to where we were staying. Riding down a long dirt road that the poor scooter wasn’t designed for, we found ourselves at a dead end right before the cave. Come to find out that only boats can enter the cave. We trekked back, found a tour boat and started our way through the dark cave. The boat took us about a mile in where they dropped us off and we walked the way back. The path goes around these mighty nature made structures that took millions of years to make. The locals brought in colored lights to eliminate the structures and wall making it a surreal feeling as we walked back.

We got back to the scooters when the girls brought up the idea of just riding around the outskirts of the town. This place wasn’t much of a tourist town and a lot of these streets were mainly untouched by travelers. This became apparent once we got a half hour in the ride. The girls wanted to stop at where a few local kids were running around a hut type building. One of girls took a bag of balloons out of her bag and started handing them out to the kids which became overjoyed with their new gifts. It was at that moment that I realized that that was their home which had no glass windows and hardly a front door and was also their place of work. These people barely had anything,  yet they were happy and smiling as if they didn’t have a worry in the world.

At that moment, it all hit me as if i landed there for the first time again. all the memories that got pushed deeper and deeper in my mind as I was having fun partying with the other travelers and walking through the oldest structures in the world in the past mouth, I started thinking of the stuff in between. The people living in the outskirts of the big cities that i saw while sitting in a bus to my next destination or that I interacted with at a truck stop. They all were just living life the best they could. Even with very little to live with, they were happy and joyful in the fullest. It was funny to me that a kid bopping a balloon in the air would make this rush of emotions come over me. Maybe it was the fact that this journey was coming to a close or the fact that I was blinded by the way I live and I was trying to compare it to life here. Whatever it was that came over me was just what I needed to really appreciate this trip for what it was and also appreciate what I had back at home.


Shortly after we back from our ride and we returned the bikes we planned our trip to Hanoi. Hanoi was my last stop, but not at this point because I had a plane ticket to Hong Kong for the weekend (Which is a another story on it own). After Hong Kong, I came back to Hanoi for one more night of my trip. In the end of the long flight home as I watched the U.S. coastline come into view, I shed a tear or two knowing that reality of everyday life was sitting there. It’s funny how just a month and a half before I was sitting at that same airport, finding any excuse to not get on that plane in fear of not knowing what Southeast Asia was going to be like. Now I didn’t want to come back!



Good Morning Vietnam!

Best part of this trip is the random act of meeting people. Next time you go to the grocery store, look over to a person in the freezer isle and imagine you will go and make dinner with them that night and become best friends just because you both were looking for the same thing. That’s about the same as what I go through on a regular basis while traveling. I’ll be waiting for a bus, look over at a couple waiting for the same bus and before I know it, we’re hanging out and planning a ride through the coast of Vietnam. It’s literally just that easy! Unfortunately those plans didn’t go through, but I managed to make good friends in the process. 

Getting into Saigon went smoothly, but once I got to the hostel is when it went south for me. The place I booked was over full, so they sent me to their sister hostel. Unfortunately the sister hostel was just their home and I decided it was best for me to find a actual hostel that was closer to my new friends from the bus hours before. Not only did I find them, I was even in the same room together. Somehow I never really did anything in Saigon. I meanly sat around, watched movies and tried to plan the next portion of my trip along the coast of Vietnam.

After 2 days of searching for a bike to ride up the coast, I finally decided instead to fly to Da Nang which is in the middle of Vietnam. I was running out of time and riding would to take a lot longer than what I had. I managed to buy a plane ticket for cheap and got a hostel near the airport for a night so I can figure out what I was going to do around that area.

The next day, I packed my things and got a taxi to the airport. That’s when journey took a bit of a turn. Knowing that my plane was supposed to leave at 3 PM, I got there early and got something to eat to pass the time until my plane was getting ready to board, But at 3 o’clock I noticed they never had any announcements and the board showing all the flights didn’t have mine on it. Not knowing exactly what to do, I just decided to go and talk with some people that work for Jetstar Pacific, which was the flight I was taking. That’s when she told me that my flight was going to be delayed until about 5 o’clock. Not really upset about all of it being that I had no where else to go, I just use the time to update the website off-line(being that there’s no Wi-Fi at the airport)

It was 4 o’clock when I decided to go to see if everything was going according to plan, but it wasn’t and the flight wasn’t going to be in until about 8 PM. They gave me an apology for the delay and even gave me my money back for my checked bag and a food voucher for the same stuff that I ate a couple hours before. There’s no way of leaving the airport because it was so far away from everything else so I just sat there. At about 8 o’clock we all lined up just to watch flight get delayed once more, but by the time I found a friend in line.

I went this whole time waiting for this flight with nobody to talk to because most of them were locals spoke very little English, but there was one girl that was there with very short hair and beautiful green eyes. She told me she was from the UK and that she just started her trip and her flight was on the runway when the plane broke down, so she was changed to this flight. I talked to her for a little bit before we jumped on a plane. She was in the front of the plane when I was in the back so I thought I would never talk to her again. The flight was very short and I knew that my hostel was about a 10 minute walk from the airport on purpose so I didn’t have to get a taxi this time. With my surprise I was waiting for my checks bags to get in when that girl with beautiful green eyes came up to me and asked if I can watch your bags so she could use the toilet. I was very surprised because we just talked for maybe five minutes before that, now she trusted me with all of her belongings. I got my bag and waited for her to come back. That’s when we started a good friendship. We sat for a little bit looking around the airport for her ride that had no idea that her flight was delayed. We found some people going to Hoi An, which was about a 30 minute drive down from Da Nang. She talked me into going with her and skipping the hostel being that there was really not much there and this time it was 11 o’clock and she was sure that they were closed. Now I found myself with three complete strangers in a taxi going a town I’ve never heard of. We got dropped off at a hotel where the two other strangers were staying, so me and the girls decide to walk around trying to find a place to stay being her place was canceled as well. After a while and a really good meal, we decide to stay at a hotel for the night.

The next day we packed up our stuff and knew that we need to find the hostel stay at, but she had different plans and with one glance she said that she needs to be going. That was the last time I saw her. That’s how things go here, you meet somebody that you really enjoy just to find yourself all alone the next afternoon. There’s nothing you can do about it except get used to the fact that that’s all part of backpacking.

  Hoi An is a beautiful beach town with a ton of custom tailors that makes suits and dresses all year-round. I found a homestay, which is kind of like hostel except it’s a house that the family actually lives in and they rent a couple rooms. It was really nice and the girl that work there helped me out tremendously on figuring out when last we can half of my trip. I managed to meet up with a couple people that I met on my trip previously and we all got to get it to go and explore the nightlife here. It was a good time and I even managed to get a suit made while I was there. Although I don’t know why? I never wear suits, but it’s nice to have in the closet and it was really cheap. The next day I rented a bike to ride through the world famous Hai Van pass. So early morning of my last day in Hoi An I threw on a helmet and started riding…
(Sorry for the lack of picture. The camera took mostly blurry photos for some reason!)